If you've never had the Buffalo Tofu at Basil Bandwagon Natural Market with a glass of Unionville's Estate Blush, you are missing out on one of the great food & wine pairings of the world! I'm really excited to share the news that almost the full portfolio of Unionville wines can be purchased now at each of the Basil Bandwagon locations- Lambertville, Flemington, and Clinton. These are terrific places, equal parts grocer, prepared foods counter, and vitamin & supplement shop. The stores focus on organic, local, fresh, and healthy foods. Their Farm to Market Café always has amazing offerings, and their specialty juices and smoothies are always rotating and delicious. You could visit for a sandwich, a cup of coffee, a pint of local ice cream (I've spied offerings from The Bent Spoon in the freezer), or do your entire week of grocery shopping. Now, you can stock up on wine for dinner or the weekend too.
Here are a few pairings that Purchasing Director Katrin Alampi and I pondered upon. You can find these items at the Café counter in each store, and these wines are all stocked there too. Enjoy!
- John Cifelli, GM
Mushroom Turkey Burgers: local turkey, mushrooms, onions, garlic, oats
pair these with the Silver Lining Cabernet Franc. This fruity, medium-bodied red will bounce off the savory, umami flavors of the burger. Skip the ketchup, let the wine play that role.
Lemon Kale Quinoa Salad: quinoa, root vegetables, kale, olive oil, lemon juice
pair with Pinot Grigio. This is a fun one because root veggies and kale are challenging wine pairing partners. Our Pinot Grigio is textured and zippy, the acidity acts to wash and refresh the palate.
Falafel with Tahini: spicy chickpea patty served with housemade tahini
pair with Estate Blush. When you build a cheese board, you often find fruits and nuts together as accompaniment. The fruity blush wine and the nutty character of falafel and tahini are lovely together, and the touch of sweetness to the wine balances the spice of the dish.
Black Bean Burger: black beans, brown rice, corn, bell peppers, onion, garlic, cumin
Pair with Revolutionary Red. This burger packs a punch of flavor, and the medium to full bodied Revolutionary Red matches it in weight, fruitiness, and intensity.
Chicken Salad: shredded organic chicken, mayo, celery, onions, stoneground mustard
Pair with Estate Chardonnay. I consider myself to be somewhat of a chicken salad aficionado. Why most places want to clobber theirs with mayonnaise confounds me. Basil's is perfectly balanced, and the sweet, salty, and savory flavors are wonderfully complimented by the tropical and citrus fruit character of our Chardonnay. Have this on toasted multi-grain to take it to the next level!
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My name is Rachael White, and I am the new vineyard manager at Unionville Vineyards. I am thrilled to be part of the team and produce exceptional grapes for exquisite wine. I’m eager to begin this role and I wanted to introduce myself to share a little of my background.
I became interested in grape production right out of high school while working at my local research and extension center with the viticulture team. Little did I know when I started that viticulture would become my passion and career going forward. I got to work with industry famous people like Dr. Tony Wolf and Dr. Cain Hickey and interact with growers that were more than happy to share their joys and dismays about farming grapes. I fell in love with the seasonality and the fact I could always be outside! With a newfound purpose, I attended my first semester at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2013 and immediately focused my degree on wine grape production. I took every wine and vineyard related course offered at the time and enjoyed other horticulture courses along the way. I studied
abroad in Cortona, Italy where I learned old world wine tradition and began refining my palate.
I finished my Bachelor of Science degree in December of 2016 and looked to gain more knowledge from elsewhere in the world. I decided to work a vintage in the southern hemisphere and set my eyes on New Zealand. In March of 2017, I started work at a contract winery in the Marlborough region that produced Sauvignon Blanc, but also small batches of Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. I worked on the “Red Team," and processed mostly Pinot Noir
in small orders for clients.
What a difference a year can make. August 2018 through July 2019 was the second rainiest 12 month stretch in the recorded history of New Jersey weather. These records stretch back into the late 19th century, which gives context just to how wet that is. It's not easy growing wine grapes when it rains every other day from August through the end of harvest. As we slogged through a wet May and June, we were making preparations to endure another difficult season. A torrential thunderstorm on July 11th dropped over three inches of rain on most of our vineyards. Todd Wuerker, winemaker at Hawk Haven Vineyard said to me on the phone "it has to stop, it always evens out" and I scoffed at that idea. The weather today doesn't know what happened the day, week, or month before.
Todd was right! An atmospheric switch flipped in mid-July, and high pressure dominated the mid-Atlantic for the rest of the season. There were isolated thunderstorms to dodge through the rest of summer, and Unionville fared particularly well in this stretch. Over the 10 weeks of harvest, less than three inches of rain fell across our vineyards. We went from a historically wet stretch to historically dry, and it came just in the nick of time.
Today, we are picking the first grapes for what is Unionville's 27th harvest. Two years after the first grapes were picked and fermented, they were sold in the newly-opened tasting room- 25 years ago. Although I've been thinking about this moment for about a year, we've started our anniversary celebration and I'm still struggling to put it all in context.
In the past few years I've learned so much that could be shared with you now. I've spent hours at the township building, reading through letters written back and forth between parties involved in the winery's founding in the early 1990's. I've walked the vineyards, pausing with each "King of the Vineyard" as Conor calls them- the craggy, gnarly vines nearly as old as me. I've stared at the black and white photos in the hallway of the 1858 Farmhouse of the family and workers who tended to this property many decades ago.
Unionville Vineyards provides guests with a safe, comfortable environment to relax and enjoy fine wine in the serene countryside of pastoral Hunterdon County. With this vision in mind, several important updates to our hospitality policies have been put in place related to group size, children, dogs, food, & more. Please click here to read them before planning your visit to Unionville, to ensure a pleasant experience for all. Thank you.